I applied for a couple scholarships this week, a few through school, and one through RBC.  The RBC one was interesting, because it was more based on leadership, and I think I fit pretty well into that category.  This interesting part was the essay questions, which I really didn’t find to be as hard as they would have been for me a couple years ago.  There are 4 scholarships of $10,000, so I’m keeping my fingers realkyt croswseds!

Here’s the questions and my responses:

1. What are you passionate about?  Please present the community or environmental issue you are most passionate about, whether it be global or community based.   Answer in 100 words or less.

My answer:

I am passionate about empowering emerging artists.  I attend an art school, and while it seems a risky career, I do believe there are ways to not only survive, but prosper.  I encourage budding artists to take their own initiative and fill in what’s missing in their education, such as business, writing and social skills.  Too often, artists play the part of the pitiful, starving artist, waving in the wind. I don’t think that’s necessary, or a desirable way to live.  Why can’t an artist be a business person, creating their own opportunities and enabling their own destiny?

2. How would you mobilize others to join your in your cause?  Imagine yourself addressing a room of your peers. Please write a speech that you would give to inspire/ask others to mobilize for your cause and join you in being an agent of change to achieve your cause related goals. Answer in 500 words or less.

My answer:

The most important skill a person can have is the ability to empower themselves.  In my community, the arts community, like any other, it is important to learn, absorb and take advantage of opportunities.  I endeavor to create and advertise opportunities for students like myself to reach their full potential.  I am a Project Manager of the smART Group, a student-run initiative (which isn’t even from my school), which enables emerging artists to learn business skills, which they will need to flourish instead of merely survive.  The group puts on speaker events with high profile artists, curators, and other professionals, such as lawyers, who have skills and experience that artists can benefit from.  In the past, we’ve created other opportunities by hosting “Critique Nights” at an art gallery (a chance to be seen by a curator, the professional artists critiquing, as well as the community), networking events and having a contest for the design of our logo.

While the smART Group provides some prospects, I encourage everyone to find opportunities for themselves.  These could be anything, such as scholarships, learning and volunteering opportunities, exhibition calls for submissions, residencies, apprenticeships, as well as the lessons you could learn from other people.  You have to push yourself, doing things that seem scary or uncomfortable, in order to continue to grow and advance in whatever it is you choose to do.  Every situation is an occasion to learn, to introduce yourself to someone, to take your fate into your own hands.

While some prospects are made for you by someone else, or are available to you through an organization, you also have to create your own opportunities.  If you can’t find a summer job, maybe you could start a summer business.  If you don’t get accepted into an exhibition, create your own.  Show your art out of your locker, or the trunk of your car.  Don’t like the choice of food on campus? Run for student government and change the menu.  See opportunities where others may not.  Have a green thumb? Start a “plant doctor” business for people who struggle with plants.  Maybe you could teach people about growing things.

You need to pay attention to what things interest you and what they can do for you.  It may not be apparent at first, but be open to everything, seek things out and good things will come your way.  Be creative.  Every experience is an opportunity, and needs to be taken advantage of.  Not only during your school years, but long after, life should be both your personal classroom and your playground.  Be open to the world, even the crazy ideas. Talk to everyone.  You never know what someone has up their sleeve that you may benefit from.

The only way to get ahead is to put yourself in the right position: always ready to jump at a moment’s notice.  The only one that will empower you is yourself, so take control of your own education!

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